Nationwide teams to run COT in 2010

NASCAR has told Nationwide Series teams that they will use the new model car at restrictor-plate and road-course races in 2010, driver Kenny Wallace said and multiple sources confirmed Friday.

An announcement has not been scheduled, and the use of the car of tomorrow isn’t official yet. But a NASCAR source said the use of the new car is “99.9 percent" certain next year for selected races.

One team owner, who asked not to be named, said the car will be used in all Nationwide races beginning in 2011.

NASCAR told the teams during this weekend’s Subway Jalapeno 250 about the use of the car next year. Currently, there are three restrictor-plate races – two at Daytona International Speedway and one at Talladega Superspeedway – and two road-course races – one each at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Watkins Glen International – on the Nationwide schedule.

“NASCAR pretty much told everybody that we’re going to the new car for the superspeedways and the road courses," Wallace said Friday. Sources said that indeed was the case.

The car has been under development since late 2008 and is an offshoot of the car currently used in the Sprint Cup Series. The chassis is basically the same, though NASCAR has said it will use a different suspension in the Nationwide car. Also different from the Cup version is the lack of a rear wing, as the Nationwide car will have a spoiler. The Nationwide car will also have a smaller front splitter.

Ford officials recently said it will brand their car as a Mustang, and Dodge will use the Challenger. Chevrolet will not use its production “pony car," the Camaro, and instead will use the same model as its Cup version: the Impala. Toyota has said it will also use the Camry, the same model as in Cup.

Some Nationwide owners have resisted the COT, saying the cost of converting to the new car would cost too much money. Using the car in only five events appears to be a concession to those owners’ fears. One car owner said building cars for the five COT races will cost about an additional $275,000.

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